Visit Hauts-de-France with P&O Ferries

Chantilly
With the children grown and flown, you may find yourselves with more time on your hands to travel. But this doesn’t have to mean expensive long-haul flights and an enormous packing list – have you thought about exploring our nearest neighbour, Northern France? Enjoy the freedom of taking your own car, caravan or motorbike and going where the whim takes you.

Spend some time with your other half

What's better than travelling abroad with someone you cherish? Not that many things, we agree. Why not plan a trip to Northern France, an oft-forgotten destination which has so much to offer: dazzling monuments, incredible food, and breathtaking landscapes...

Plan your trip to Hauts-de-France (External link)

Thanks to P&O Ferries (External link) , the oft-overlooked shores of Hauts-de-France are just a 90-minute ferry ride from Dover. With up to 23 sailings a day, unbeatable on-board services, and friendly staff to help out every step of the way, it’s never been easier to get a ferry to France with their Dover to Calais crossing. Then take to the open road – and feel a world away.

Northern France, a region full of character

If you’re keen on architecture, the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Amiens is a sight to behold in all its Gothic splendour. Take a guided tour and soak up the history of this hallowed place, then take a rowing boat out in the hortillonnages (floating gardens) for a romantic pause. In Lille, it’s all about cobblestones and crispy waffles, and long, lazy lunches at a local estaminet (licensed café) as you plan your next move.

Then it could be to Chantilly to indulge in château culture the Northern French way, make four-legged friends at the stables and eat strawberries slathered in the eponymous cream at Restaurant Le Hameau, hidden away in the unexpected Anglo-Chinese gardens.

Of course, you can never escape Hauts-de-France’s wartime ties with the UK, and a visit to the Thiepval Memorial will leave you speechless at the sheer number of missing British and South African soldiers from the Battles of the Somme. Dry your eyes before going birdwatching at Parc du Marquenterre, a reserve of dunes, forest and marshland with hides for spotting migratory waders, and nature trails to follow all year round.

Listed as one of France’s most beautiful villages, Gerberoy is a medieval hideaway with roses and rampart walks, and gorgeous gardens like the Jardin des Ifs, a symphony of symmetrical French style with its perfectly clipped and unusually shaped boxwoods and yews. For a bite to eat, stop at l’Atelier Gourmand de Sarah, where a warm welcome accompanies sumptuous homemade pies and pastries, all made using local produce.

After all that, there’ll still be time to raise a glass at dramatic Cap Blanc Nez on the Opal Coast, whose craggy white cliffs bear a striking resemblance to Dover’s just 26 miles away.

Visit Northern France – because sometimes, the best memories are made close to home.

Book your sailing with P&O Ferries by visiting www.poferries.com (External link) today

Download our travel blogger and writer Janine Marsh’s mini guide! to find out more about her road trip itinerary and her recommendations on what to see and do in Hauts-de-France

PO and HDF

Calais, Northern France